Pediatric gastroenterologists have specialty training to care for infants, children and teens. In addition to having training in pediatrics, they go through an additional three or more years gaining expertise in gastroenterology. They then take a comprehensive test to earn board certification, which demonstrates their knowledge and capabilities.
This specialized training ensures your child receives appropriate diagnosis and treatment for their unique digestive, liver or nutritional needs. This is important because children’s digestive systems are different than adults, not merely smaller.
Digestive issues your child may experience
Pediatric gastroenterologists treat a variety of conditions. Some of the more common conditions include:
- Excessive constipation, diarrhea or vomiting
- Feeding disorders or nutritional problems, including failure to thrive and obesity
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Lactose or gluten intolerance
- Physical abnormalities that affect food movement or absorption, such as pyloric stenosis
- Bleeding in the digestive tract
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
Diagnosing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
The pediatric gastroenterologists at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital have specialized training to perform diagnostic testing that can help them uncover what is causing a problem. Because kids may have a difficult time explaining their symptoms, experience counts when making an accurate diagnosis.
Our providers offer the following procedures to determine the type and extent of a GI disorder:
- Endoscopy, which uses small, magnifying cameras to see inside the digestive tract and take a tissue sample for examination under a microscope
- Colonoscopy, which uses endoscopes to examine the intestines to look for bleeding or growths that may be causing a problem
- Lactose breath test, which can diagnose sensitivity to dairy products or whether abnormal bacteria are present in the GI tract
- Video capsule endoscopy, which uses a tiny wireless camera to take images of the digestive tract to look for bleeding, growths or inflammation in the small intestines
- pH/impedance probe stud, a 24-hour test in which a thin tube is placed in the esophagus to help diagnose and treat reflux in infants and children
Accurate diagnosis ensures we can provide the most appropriate treatment for your child’s condition. We always start with the least aggressive therapy, which may include:
- Dietary modification to reduce foods that may be contributing to a problem, such as inflammation
- Medications or supplements to control symptoms by reducing inflammation or addressing abnormal bacteria
- Weight management or weight-loss advice and support
When more aggressive treatments are needed, we offer:
- Placement of feeding tubes to deliver nutrition
- Medications delivered through a vein (infusions), including Remicade® IV infusion
- Surgery to repair physical abnormalities or to remove blockages, growths or tissue that lacks normal nerve cells
Support for children and families dealing with digestive issues
Our pediatric gastroenterologists work with registered dieticians and social workers who can offer additional services to help you understand and cope with a GI disorder diagnosis.